Something as small as a meal swipe can help the life of a person in Uganda.
The GlobeMed club at Rutgers is holding a meal swipe campaign to raise funds for their efforts in Uganda. Students can donate meal swipes and the value of that meal swipe is donated by Rutgers to the organization.
Students can donate one or two meal swipes at tables set up at dining halls or though an online link. Each meal swipe contributes $3 to the fundraiser.
GlobeMed is a student-run, non-profit organization started in 2011 at Rutgers that focuses on issues such as global health and public health, said Kevin Xie, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and co-president of the club.
Recently the club has been working with Change A Life Uganda, a non-profit organization. Every summer, the club also sends a few students to the country they are raising funds for, Xie said.
“We devised a project with the non-profit throughout the year and we pitch our ideas and we get their feedback and they pitch their ideas of what they want us to do over there. We put together a cohesive project," he said.
The meal swipe campaign is a program organized by RUSA, he said. Each semester they allocate the program to a certain club. Each club needs to apply for the program and the top three applicants are chosen to present to RUSA why their club deserves the campaign.
This is the second time that GlobeMed has been awarded the campaign, he said.
The club has a new fundraising goal each year that they use towards projects with their partner organization. This year the funds will go to two projects that they are working on with Change A Life Uganda.
The first project focuses on improving the menstrual sanitation in a community in Uganda.
“Half the money we raise will go towards purchasing sanitary pads for the young girls and women there. Right now they currently use rags which is really unsanitary and can be embarrassing as well. There’s a stigma to it because not everyone is educated about it. We want to alleviate the stigma," Xie said.
They also want to create a sustainable method for the community for sanitation.
Their goal is to purchase the materials needed to make the pads, and then to teach the people how to make the pads, he said.
"We need to find a company that pursues this sustainable model. Hopefully they (community members) can efficiently create these pads on their own time and maybe create a business out of it," he said. "It would help sustain their economy and they would be distributing this commodity that people need.”
Along with this initiative, the club will be doing educational work in a school in Uganda.
Four members of the team will be going to Uganda this summer to educate the boys and girls about menstrual health, Xie said. They want the children to understand that menstruation is a natural process and that it is nothing to be embarrassed about.
The other half of the money will go towards building a wash house in the community, Xie said. There is a water purification system created by UNICEF that purifies rain water into potable water from the community members to drink, he said.
GlobeMed projects are ones that benefit both the volunteers and the community, Xie said.
“We gain experience in global health initiatives and interfacing with nonprofits that operate here and abroad. It’s great experience for our GlobeMed kids and also for the community in the developing country,” he said.
In previous years, the club has managed to raise $12,000 through this campaign. But, the amount per meal swipe has decreased considerably since previous years so this year the club hopes to raise around $3,500, Xie said.
“We are sticking with CAL U for the foreseeable future,” Xie said. "Our idea of a partnership is that we build a relationship with them and view their problems and view our capacity as students to serve them.”
Tabling for the campaign at the dining halls is also an important step for raising awareness, he said.
“We don’t always think about the advantages that we have," Xie said. “What we’re doing here and abroad, and our initiative to make someone else’s life better elsewhere, it kind of boils down to the whole Jersey roots and global reach. It’s important to expand ourselves from the bubble that we’re in.”
Madhuri Bhupathiraju is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @madhuri448 for more.